The Middle Eastern Communities Council of South Australia (MECCSA) and the Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) partnered to host the 2017 Middle Eastern New Year Festival ‘Nowruz’ at Bonython Park in the Adelaide City Parklands.
The event, celebrated by communities across the region and globally, was attended by 1,200 people and participants including over 120 stallholders, presenters and performers from Iranian, Afghani, Kurdish, Turkish, Uzbek, Iraqi, Armenian, Syrian and Lebanese backgrounds. Performances were delivered by the Turkish Amethyst Belly Dance Group, Afghan Martial Arts Group, Armenian Dance Group, and skilled artists playing the oud and tambura musical instruments. The festival was officially marked with two ‘Haft-Seen’ tabletop arrangements, featuring decorated items prepared by the Persian and Kurdish communities to symbolise good luck.
Settlement Director of MECCSA and Chairperson of the Afghan United Association of SA, Mr Hussain Razaiat, expressed that: “Nowruz gives Middle Eastern communities the platform to showcase their cultural pride and customs, and share it by coming together to present a diverse and exciting program, which engages the participation of community leaders, community groups, young people, exceptionally talented artists and performers, as well as the general public.”
Traditional dishes were served by the Iraqi Women’s Voice of SA, Turkish Community of SA, Persian Community Cultural Association of SA and the Iraqi Community Cultural Association of SA. Information displays were held by the South Australian Police (SAPOL), St John’s Ambulance and TAFE AMEP. Face painting for children was available, as well as Henna.
AMRC Arts Coordinator, Keith Preston, explained that: “Attendees were able to gain an increased understanding of the positive cultural contribution these communities make on South Australia’s developing multiculturalism and the event was able to build on last year’s success with the new location.”